Playing hooky and making time for hobbies

By Katharine Swan On Wednesday, August 03, 2011 At 2:13 PM

After the progress I made last week on my novel, I'm sorry to say that I spent the last several business days playing hooky.  On Thursday I had a riding lesson, and on Friday I went on a trail ride.  Then my mother-in-law was in town Monday and Tuesday, and hubby was off work too, so I spent both days either with them or with horses (or both).

This made me think of something that I neglected to figure into my visions of my new, fiction-inclusive schedule: horse time.  I ride a lot, especially in the summer, and I do need to figure in several mornings a week being spent at the barn.  (Although I do try to make smart decisions and pass on rides when I get really behind, as I did this morning.)  This leaves less time to be split between client work and fiction writing, but the horse stuff is something I'm not willing to give up, so I just have to do my best to work it in.

I think what I'll do is continue to plan, say, 2 mornings a week to be spent at the barn, and try to make other rides in the evening.  (Evening rides interfere with work less but don't allow for trail rides — I need daylight for that, which means mornings, because the afternoons have been too hot lately.  Plus mornings are when the rest of my trail-riding buddies go, and Panama and I don't hit the trail without at least one other horse and rider with us, for safety reasons.)  This will be a flexible schedule, though: I'll continue to stay home when I need to work, and plan on adding extra mornings in to make up for it when I have slower weeks.  Slower weeks will be defined as less client work — I can generally get work done on my novel at any time of day or night, but with client work I am more productive when I don't lose half my day by going somewhere in the morning.

What about you?  Do you have any hobbies that you try to plan your work schedule around?  The nice thing about freelancing is that you do have a little more flexibility, even if many of us pay the price by working more hours in the long run.  (Hard to get away from work when you don't leave an office at the end of the day!)  Or do you find that you work better if you treat freelancing like a 9 to 5 job?  I know freelancers on both end of that spectrum, so I don't think there is a right or wrong answer to this question, just personal preference.

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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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